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Whether you’re ready to embrace Edinburgh life for the full Festival season, or you just need somewhere to lay your head after a big night out in Scotland’s capital, none of us want to see our hard earned cash solely spent on our lodgings.
Hotels and apartments are notoriously pricey around these parts, but – if you’re in the know – there’s plenty of affordable accommodation to be found in the heart of the city.
Oh, and don’t shy away from this list just because we’re banding the word ‘hostel’ about – all of these options are cool, central and (most importantly) cheap as chips.
Describing itself as a ’boutique hostel’, the trendy, red brick CODE looks like something straight out of New York’s Greenwich Village, despite being hidden just behind Edinburgh’s main shopping street. CODE’s individual ‘pod’ beds maximise space inside the hostel without compromising on privacy. You’ll also be provided with complimentary earplugs on arrival, just in case your dorm-mates are a bit on the snorey side – it’s the little things that make you feel at home.
50 Rose Street North Lane, EH2 2NP – codehostel.com
Smart City Hostel by Safestay
Smart City Hostel comes highly recommended and is far from a basic hostel. Modern, bright and with all the amenities you could ever need, the building is also perfectly located for Fringe shows on the Royal Mile, the Cowgate and at the Pleasance. The in-house bar is popular with residents, but if you fancy a change of scene during your stay you’ve got the Old Town at your fingertips.
50 Blackfriars Street, EH1 1NE – safestay.com
Kick Ass Hostels
Some residents may object to its somewhat saucy name, but Kick Ass Hostels is a firm favourite with visitors. This one only opened in the last few years, so the furniture, rooms and facilities are modern and still in great condition. Effort has obviously been made to make both the room and communal areas at Kick Ass inviting – definitely not always the case in £10-a-night hostels. Prices get hiked up during the Festival, but this hostel’s Grassmarket location plonks you right in the middle of the action.
2 West Port, EH1 2JA – kickasshostels.co.uk
There aren’t too many frills to be found at Haggis Hostels – and the shared dorms may give you flashbacks to school camp – but it’s next door to Princes Street and a stone’s throw from Waverley Station. The hostel is clean, the staff super friendly and the facilities first class. If you’re travelling as a group, you might be able to bag a smaller room all to yourselves, but if you’re a lone traveller on a tight budget who’s happy to share then Haggis is still a brilliant option.
5/3 West Register Street, EH2 2AA – haggishostels.co.uk
Light House Hostel
Although (upsettingly) Light House Hostel isn’t housed in an actual lighthouse, it is one of the more unusual buildings on this list. The hostel can be found in a rather unassuming town house near Fountainbridge, but you’ll recognise it straight away from the red phone box in the front garden. Don’t let the mention of a house fool you, though – this place has six rooms with space for more than 30 guests at once. There are home comforts aplenty (from free tea and coffee to a huge home cinema set up) and the owners donate half of their profits to a housing charity, so you can feel extra good about staying here.
20 Gilmore Place, EH3 9NQ – lighthousehostel.co.uk
Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel
Arrive at Waverley Station, head Leith-wards for ten minutes on foot and you’ll find yourself at Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel. There are both basic private and sharing rooms available at this hostel, but all of them have en-suite bathrooms. With 270 beds in total, the place is guaranteed to be bustling during the busy Fringe period in August.
9 Haddington Place, EH7 4AL – syha.org.uk
Castle Rock Hostel
There’s something for everyone at the vast and quirky Castle Rock Hostel, just off the Royal Mile and a couple of minutes from Edinburgh Castle. Whether you want to play pool, study in style or tickle the ivories on the hostel’s grand piano, you’ll be made to feel at home here. You can book a private double bed room here (a rarity in a lot of Edinburgh hostels) but there are plenty of reasonably priced sharing options too.
15 Johnston Terrace, EH1 2PW – castlerockedinburgh.com
Owned by the same company as the previously mentioned Kick Ass Hostels, Budget Backpackers is just a little further down the road, where the Grassmarket meets the Cowgate. Like Kick Ass, Budget Backpackers is decked out in a modern style and has the same cheap prices without compromising on a fun, friendly atmosphere. Although you’ll probably hear the Fringe festivities going on right outside on the Cowgate during the month of August, the hostel itself is well managed and quiet – ideal when you just need a good eight hours after a busy day of sightseeing or a big night out.
37-39 Cowgate, EH1 1JR – budgetbackpackers.com
High Street Hostel
Sister hostel to Castle Rock, High Street Hostel is close to the Pleasance and Holyrood. It’s also rustic, quirky and generally quite adorable – a far cry from the painfully generic and bare hostel bedrooms you’ve probably been imagining. Head out into the bustling Old Town in summer armed with staff recommendations, or hide from winter weather in the comfy common rooms, sipping complimentary tea, coffee or hot chocolate – either way, you’re going to enjoy your stay here.
8-18 Blackfriars Street, EH1 1NE – highstreethostel.com
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Main image: Instagram / @wshabooty